Florida Restores Voting Rights To More Than 1 Million Felons After Passing Amendment 4

Florida Restores Voting Rights To More Than 1 Million Felons After Passing Amendment 4

Photo Credit: Erik Hersman

Twenty-three percent of African-American adults in Florida cannot vote because of a previous felony conviction.

During the midterm elections in Florida, voters passed Amendment 4, which grants citizens with felony convictions in the state the right to vote after they have served their sentences, including prison terms, parole and probationary periods.

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The voting rights will not be restored to those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses though according to Business Insider.

1.5 million people in Florida have a felony conviction and 23 percent of African-American adults cannot vote because of a previous felony conviction.

64 percent of Florida voters agreed to restore felons’ voting rights, according to the Associated Press.

In February, a federal judge ruled that Florida’s current method for restoring voting rights to felons is unconstitutional.

“In Florida, elected, partisan officials have extraordinary authority to grant or withhold the right to vote from hundreds of thousands of people without any constraints, guidelines, or standards,” the judge said¬†via the Washington Post. “Its members alone must be satisfied that these citizens deserve restoration…The question now is whether such a system passes constitutional muster. It does not.”

Prior to the election, Florida was one of four states “where convicted felons do not regain the right to vote, until and unless a state officer or board restores an individual’s voting rights,” according to¬†Ballotpedia. The website also notes how the method for restoring voting rights for felons changed under Governor Charlie Crist and Governor Rick Scott. The former “restored the rights of felons who had completed their sentences, paid restitution, and had no pending criminal charges,” while the latter made it to where “convicted felons must wait five or seven years, depending on the type of offense, after the completion of their sentences to request that the board consider the restoration of their voting and other civil rights.”

Source: Business Insider

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